Economic development and the hurricane recovery were on the agenda when Virgin Islands leaders met with Caribbean Development Bank officials who visited the territory last week, according to government.

Premier Dr. Natalio “Sowande” Wheatley and other senior officials from the Ministry of Finance held bilaterial meetings with CDB President Dr. Hyginus “Gene” Leon and Senior Advisor Andrea Power to discuss how the Virgin Islands can benefit from the bank now and in the future, according to a government press release issued Friday.

“I was happy to host … Dr. Leon and to have the opportunity to acknowledge the invaluable support given to the Virgin Islands — not just in financing hurricane recovery projects, but with technical assistance in procurement policy, training and other areas of development,” Dr. Wheatley said.

The government, he added, hopes to collaborate with the bank on VI development goals including developing infrastructure, boosting food security, enhancing climate and economic resilience, and “investing in innovation.”

‘New pathways’

During the talks, Dr. Leon shared the bank’s vision and reiterated its commitment to partnering with its borrowing member countries including the VI, according to government.

“The Caribbean Development Bank is pleased to directly engage the government of the VI and strengthen our longstanding relationship,” he said. “Our interactions and dialogue during this visit have created new pathways and opportunities for the bank and the VI to further reinforce the solid foundation both have enjoyed.”

As an example of the CDB’s commitment to member countries, Dr. Leon cited the bank’s response to support redevelopment after the 2017 hurricanes by issuing loan and grant facilities to supplement the funding gap.

Dr. Leon assumed the office of CDB president in May 2021, becoming the sixth chief executive of the regional multilateral institution.

The bank officials also made courtesy calls on the Cabinet and officials from the Recovery and Development Agency, according to government.